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The Supreme Court, the Census Case and the Truth

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 8:45pm
The Supreme Court, the Census Case and the Truth

Will the justices be the administration?s enablers or form a firewall against its lies?
Source: The Sup...
Categories: Local Blogs

Guatemalan family first to be deported from U.S. in Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ program

Borderzine - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 7:35pm

A 30-year-old Guatemalan woman and her two sons on Friday became the first people to be deported from the United States while taking part in a controversial Trump administration program that requires some migrants to remain in Mexico while their U.S. immigration cases are heard.

“Over there (in Guatemala), if they do something to me my children have somewhere to go. Over here (in Mexico,) they have nothing if something happens to me,” Karla told immigration judge Nathan Herbert in El Paso. Borderzine is not using her full name because she said her family faces threats in Guatemala.

More: On Mexico’s southern border, migrants seek to survive one day at a time

‘Uncaged Art’ exhibit gives voice to migrant children detained in Tornillo tent city

Karla, her 9-year-old son Eddin and her 11-month-old son Ian entered the United States in El Paso on March 25, according to court documents. They were sent to Ciudad Juárez on March 29, among the first people sent back from El Paso under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols.

The family initially appeared in court April 17 and their cases were continued until Friday to give them the opportunity to find an attorney. In an immigration courtroom in Downtown El Paso Friday afternoon, Karla said she was unable to find an attorney and declined Herbert’s offer of two more weeks to find an attorney.

“I want to go back to my country,” she told the judge.

Herbert asked her if she was afraid to go back to Guatemala.

“Yes, but I am even more afraid to be in Mexico,” Karla said, sobbing. She held her baby while her older son, Eddin, sat about 10 feet away on a courtroom bench.

At the end of the hearing, Herbert issued an order of removal that will result in the family’s deportation to Guatemala. Attorneys familiar with Migrant Protection Protocols said Karla and her family are the first people in the program to be ordered deported.

Karla’s case illustrates both the hopes of the Trump administration and the fears of its critics in the MPP program, which began in January in southern California in late January and expanded to El Paso in late March.

Karla and her children were ordered deported six weeks after arriving in the United States, at a time when it takes years for courts to rule on cases of migrants released into the United States. Critics have said the Trump administration is deliberately placing migrants in dangerous conditions in hopes they’ll abandon their immigration cases and return home.

Mexican officials have said the United States has sent more than 3,600 migrants back to Mexico under the MPP program since January.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week allowed the program to continue while the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenge its legality.

Permission to return home

Although Karla and her sons were the first people formally deported under MPP, a man from El Salvador on Thursday won permission to return to his country without a deportation order. But that effort triggered confusion and led to a government effort to block him from returning to his home country.

“I left my son, who is very ill,” Elmer, 31, told Herbert at the Thursday hearing. The boy was getting sicker by the day and Elmer said he wanted to go home and resume working in El Salvador so he could care for his wife and two children. By volunteering to end his immigration case, Elmer would avoid deportation, an action that would make it more difficult for him to legally enter the United States in the future.

But Michael Klowsosky, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, objected to Elmer’s request, saying he should be forced to continue his case and be forced to stay in Ciudad Juárez.

“You can’t hold him as a hostage,” said Nancy Oretskin, an attorney from Las Cruces, New Mexico, who volunteered to represent Elmer at his initial hearing in El Paso immigration court.

Klowsosky told Herbert that Elmer couldn’t prove that he had the means to travel to El Salvador, even though Oretskin said she would pay for his bus ticket.

Because Elmer was dropping his efforts to stay in the United States, he would no longer be in the MPP program and might not be allowed by Mexican officials to return and travel through that country, Klowsosky said. He acknowledged that the government had planned to send Elmer back to Mexico at the end of Thursday’s hearing if he hadn’t volunteered to end his case.

Herbert initially granted Elmer’s request that he be allowed to abandon his immigration case and return to El Salvador, over Klowsosky’s objection. The DHS attorney said he had been instructed by “headquarters” to appeal the ruling, which meant that Elmer would be held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for weeks or months while the appeal was decided.

Herbert recessed the hearing to research the law. In an interview during the recess, Elmer said he had hoped to join an uncle in Los Angeles so he could make some money for his family. His eyes were red from weeping repeatedly during the hearing.

During the break, Klowsosky emailed his supervisors and then offered Oretskin a compromise. Elmer would withdraw his request to end his immigration case and instead seek to delay his initial hearing until July 23. If Elmer proved he returned to El Salvador before he was due back in court, his immigration case would be dismissed.

When Herbert returned to court, Elmer approved the DHS offer and the judge gave his blessing. Elmer was taken back to Ciudad Juárez by U.S. immigration agents Thursday afternoon, and he planned to buy a bus ticket to El Salvador.

After concluding Thursday’s hearing, Herbert uttered a single word.

“Wow.”

But Elmer ran into difficulty after leaving court. U.S. border agents declined to return his Salvadoran national identification card, which he would need to return to his home country. It now appears likely that he will have to travel to the Salvadoran consulate in Monterrey, Mexico, to obtain a duplicate copy of the card. That will delay his return to his sick son by several days, said Dylan Corbett, executive director of Hope Border Institute, which has been assisting Elmer.

Click hear to read Guatemalan family first to be deported from U.S. in Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ program

Categories: Local Blogs

Salvage cars destined for Mexico outnumber people in this Texas border town

Borderzine - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 8:00am

TORNILLO, Tx — This small town in eastern El Paso County has less than 2,000 residents, but is far from being tranquil as a jangly parade of used vehicles bound for Mexico are hauled through its streets every day.

“The amount of traffic that goes by the front of the house is terrible because a lot of those guys are pulling two or three cars. Parts are falling off of them, it’s a hazard for us” said longtime Tornillo resident Jay Martin.

El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez said the vehicles started moving through Tornillo in huge numbers when the U.S. port of entry with Mexico opened in 2016. Previously, used vehicles were being imported into Mexico through port of entry at Santa Teresa, N.M., but when the Tornillo port opened it was designated as the sole crossing point for this sector.

Cars line up outside the Three Mile Parking lot in Tornillo, Texas. Photo by Idalia Suarez, Borderzine.com

Perez said the traffic has improved some since Mexico imposed restrictions on used car imports to limit imports of lower quality vehicles and help protect domestic auto vendors.

“The problem was much worse when it first began back in 2016. Part of reason was that Mexico was accepting – I want to say they were accepting over a thousand cars a day – then they significantly reduced the number to one hundred a day,” he said.

Meanwhile, about a dozen car lots have opened up in Tornillo and the nearby city of Fabens where vehicles are stored until they can be crossed into Mexico. Approximately 80 to 100 used vehicles cross the port each day, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Roger Maier.

Tornillo residents like Jorge Aguirre worry that their property and other land around will be devalued by the vehicle lots and roadside debris.

“The property value is going to be affected because if I ever decide to sell my place my property will go down the drain,” Aguirre said. However, real estate agent Octavio Duarte said property values in Tornillo have remained stable since 2016.

A salvage car ready to be transported into Mexico through the Tornillo, Texas, crossing.

El Paso county officials put up signs to near the port of entry warning salvage vehicle transporters that they are not allowed to park close to the port.

“We did that because at the height of the problem there was a line of over three miles of cars that were parking in front of people’s driveways, parking on farmlands,” Perez said. “A lot of these cars aren’t in very good condition. They were leaking oil so there was an environmental concern. It was a very dangerous situation there were also fights that were breaking out because people were getting upset about maybe someone jumping the line.”

Perez said the no parking signs were a first step, put not a permanent solution.

“If I had my way I wouldn’t have any of these cars there going to the port of entry. It’s not what we envisioned for the port of entry, it’s not what my predecessors had envisioned for the port of entry.”

As a resident, Aguirre said he is also concerned about the potential damage the used vehicles sitting for a long time in dirt lots pose to the area’s farmlands.

“As a person that likes livestock and agriculture, I’m just afraid it’ll affect the impact of the environment. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of oil leaks, stuff that shouldn’t be on the ground might affect the water table,” he said.

Perez expects that the Tornillo port of entry will remain as the primary crossing for used vehicles being imported into Mexico until it grows to have more commercial and commuter traffic.

Click hear to read Salvage cars destined for Mexico outnumber people in this Texas border town

Categories: Local Blogs

City Council's awareness is their responsibility

Refuse the Juice - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 6:47am
Anyone who has ever done any business with the city or submitted an RFP, RFQ or bid to the city knows that none of that happens in secret. By law the city must publicize its requests for everything in the... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Next danger point for Lost Dog

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 5:00am

Congratulations to the supporters of Lost Dog.

As we know the election will force city council to pass an ordinance that protects the area from development.

City council can in the future pass a new ordinance that would override the ordinance thus making the land available for development.

The city council representatives are not likely to do this from fear that overriding the initiative  ordinance will hurt their chances for re-election.

The next regular city council election will be in 2020.  Three of our current city representatives will not be eligible for election but will sit in office until new members are sworn in, so they could vote for a new ordinance between the election and swearing in day.

The period between the next election and when the winners take office is the most dangerous.

If the four city representatives that are scheduled for re-election in 2020 get re-elected they could vote to override the ordinance with no fear of hurting their chances for re-election.  Why?  They can only serve two terms.  If they get re-elected they cannot be elected yet another time so fear of public backlash will be minimized–they cannot run again and thus the voters don’t matter.  Combine those four with the three that will be lame ducks and you have seven representatives that can vote without hurting their chances.  They simply have to have the vote between election day and the day new members are sworn in.

City council members can still be recalled but  now it will  the signatures of 20% of the people who are eligible to vote in that district in order to call a recall election.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Trump Mothers Would Be Caged Today

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:00pm
Today is Mexican Mothers Day. As such, it seems prudent to take a moment to discuss immigrant mothers, […]
Categories: Local Blogs

White House Increases Temporary Work Visas; Proposes Keeping Immigration Flat

US Immigration Reform Forum - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:15pm
White House Increases Temporary Work Visas; Proposes Keeping Immigration Flat


Source: White House Increases Temporary Work Visas; Proposes Keeping Immigration Flat

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

Whitest guy in El Paso thanks other white guys for new white people park

Refuse the Juice - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:43am
You can't make this up. And I promise I'm going to stop posting on this, but it's too funny to pass up. I know it's small, but it's a letter to the editor from Eliot Shapleigh that was fast-tracked into... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

One last chance?

ElPasoSpeak - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 5:00am

Get ready for local government tax increases this year.

There are bills being considered in the Texas legislature that would restrict the percentage of increase local governments could add to their tax rates.

Right now most local governments (not the school districts since many of them are already at their maximum rates) can increase their tax rate by around 8% every year without triggering a roll back election.

The new bills would restrict that growth.  It seems that one bill being considered would limit their increase to 3.5% per year, once again without triggering an election.

The situation has our locals concerned.  Reducing costs does not appear to be something that they want to do.

With the threat of a 3.5% cap being imposed on them don’t be surprised if they take what might be their last opportunity and hit us with an 8% increase this year.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

The Abandoned Vans of Atlanta

US Immigration Reform Forum - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 4:03am
The Abandoned Vans of Atlanta

The reporter Mario Guevara investigates how immigration arrests shape his Atlanta community.
Source: The Abandoned Vans of At...
Categories: Local Blogs

It Is Not About the Billions It Is About the Taxes

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 10:00pm
We now know that Donald Trump lost money for about ten years. The New York Times analyzed tax […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Trump Administration Asks Congress for $4.5 Billion To Spend on Border 'Crisis'

US Immigration Reform Forum - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 1:51pm
Trump Administration Asks Congress for $4.5 Billion To Spend on Border 'Crisis'


Source: Trump Administration Asks Congress for $4.5 Billion To Spend on Border 'Crisis'

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Reason Magazine Immigration Feed
Categories: Local Blogs

Sisterhood of the Traveling Boots that began as Beto O’Rourke promotion ‘absolutely the funnest thing’

Borderzine - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:37am

Nevena Christi says she wants to start a girl gang.

The bosslady at El Paso-based Rocketbuster Boots, 115 Anthony St., is building a community of women, and it’s all centered on a pair of cowgirl boots featuring former-congressman turned presidential-hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s likeness.

“It really is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beto Boots,” Christi says.

In September 2018, Christi was inspired to create a pair of boots featuring an image of O’Rourke after seeing a print that El Paso artist Partick Galbadon had made during O’Rourke’s unsuccessful Senate run.

“So I was thinking well, what if it was like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?” Christi says, referring the popular movie about a group of women who share a pair of jeans.

El Paso members of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beto Boots, from left, Monica Alvillar, Nevena Christi, Teresa Echandi and Michelle Cummings. Photo by Nicole Madrid, Borderzine.com

Christi says that Rocketbuster staff regularly borrow sample boots to wear, regardless of size. She wanted to apply the same principle to the Beto boots.

“So we thought we could make a pair of Beto boots that any woman could check out like a library book if she was a size 7 to an 8 ½ with the right insoles, and wear them out,” she says.

Christi put out a call to Rocketbuster’s large social media following for women to join the sisterhood and “people were just thrilled with the idea.”

Monica Alvillar debuted the boots at a fundraiser hosted by movie director Judd Appatow in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Nicole Madrid

Monica Alvillar, the artist’s wife, was the first woman to join the sisterhood. She debuted the boots in Los Angeles at a fundraising event for O’Rourke’s campaign hosted by Hollywood director Judd Appatow, where she says “people loved them.”

“It is absolutely the funnest thing,” Alvillar says. “Not only were we supporting Beto in a Senate race, but we were also supporting a local artist, as well as Nevena.”

Michelle Cummings wore the boots to Willie Nelson’s concert for O’Rourke in Austin.

Alvillar then sent the boots directly to Austin, where El Pasoan Michelle Cummings wore them to the Willie for Beto for Texas concert put on by Willie Nelson.

Cummings says that part of the fun of wearing the boots is the attention they grab. She says while wearing them, people were constantly asking to take pictures with her and the boots.

“The boots had a character of their own,” she says.

El Pasoan Teresa Echandi wore the boots at O’Rourke’s 2018 Texas Senate election watch party and O’Rourke’s El Paso presidential campaign kickoff on March 31st.

The traveling boots made an appearance at Beto O’Rourke’s presidential kickoff rally in El Paso on March 31. Photo credit: Nicole Madrid

“I think we are a very proud group of ladies. We wear (the boots) very proudly,” Echandi says.

Women who join the sisterhood are asked to post their adventures with the boots to Instagram for others to see using #BetoBoots.

During O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate run, the boots became so popular that they required their own calendar. Women wore them to concerts like the Austin City Limits festival and the San Antonio Jazz Fest. They attended parties, fundraisers, events around El Paso and they even traveled as far as New York.

“I think it’s fun that these boots have a story. That they follow different people through their travels,” Cummings says.

If Christi had enough time, she would like to make many more pairs of the boots to have several women wear them at once.

“You know I would love to make twelve pairs of Beto boots and we can have a girl gang,” she says.

Many members of the sisterhood agree that they would have joined, even if the boots had nothing to do with O’Rourke, because the community that they have forged has been so special.

“The sisterhood is very strong. I still talk to several of the girls who have worn the Beto boots,” she says. “It was just such a fun thing to do and the people we met along the way were amazing.”

Now, the boots’ adventures will continue as O’Rourke carries out his presidential run.

Rocketbuster Boots bosslady Nevena Christi designed the boots with the intention of creating a community around them. Photo credit: Nicole Madrid

But, Christi is looking beyond 2020. She says she hopes to one day create what she calls “the perfect pair of party boots” that would be shared in the same way the Beto boots have been and carry on the sisterhood.

“I love meeting all these strong women who really want to put (the boots) on and go out there and have fun. And they love the effect of what happens when they’re wearing them,” Christi says.

To find out how to join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beto Boots, check out Rocketbuster’s Facebook page.

 

Click hear to read Sisterhood of the Traveling Boots that began as Beto O’Rourke promotion ‘absolutely the funnest thing’

Categories: Local Blogs

Process of approval for Lost Dog Land Thievery

Refuse the Juice - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 9:00am
I got an email from someone who asks a lot of questions and suggests some different scenarios. Do any of you have the answer? ------------------- So City Charter section 3.11 says if a petition to place item on ballot passes... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Penny swap or dime increase?

ElPasoSpeak - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 5:20am

There is a problem with the “penny swap” that the voters approved for EPISD.

Quite simply there is not enough money now being generated by the interest and sinking fund (I&S) rate to pay EPISD’s debts.

Last year the voters approved reducing the I&S rate by 10 cents per hundred dollars of property valuation and increasing the maintenance and operations rate the same amount (M&O) thus leaving the combined rate the same as the previous year.

Then since the district did not have enough money to make their bond payments (I&S) they took money out of an existing fund balance.  In short they took our I&S money over a period of years and did not pay down all of the debt they could, thus creating a fund and increasing our borrowing costs.

You can see that the new I&S tax rate only generated $29 million.  They needed $40.1 million to pay their debt payments.

What they did was reduce their fund balance from $30 million to $18.9 million.  They can probably do this again next year but then they will run out of money.

They cannot take the money from their maintenance and operations fund.

The Texas attorney general ruled last year that:

“Districts do not have authority to increase the maintenance and operations tax rate to create a surplus to pay debt service
with maintenance and operations tax revenue. See TEX. TAX CODE § 26.012(16) (defining “maintenance and operations” as “any lawful purpose other than debt service for which a taxing unit may spend property tax revenues” (emphasis added)).”

The net result is that the district will have to raise the I&S rate either this year or next.

The voters got hoodwinked.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

 

 

Categories: Local Blogs

Venezuela, Border Security and SOUTHCOM Posture

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 10:00pm
It’s an “invasion” they proclaim as Donald Trump fans the flame of hate through his border security narrative. […]
Categories: Local Blogs

Trump Helps Bigots Go Viral

US Immigration Reform Forum - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 6:40pm
Trump Helps Bigots Go Viral

As Facebook tries to ban extremists, the president amplifies them.
Source: Trump Helps Bigots Go Viral

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The ...
Categories: Local Blogs

Borderland fishing club reels more desert dwellers into the sport

Borderzine - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 9:16am

El Paso’s desert climate is not stopping anglers from finding a local fishing hole in the borderland thanks to the El Paso Texas Fish & Game fishing club.

“El Paso is not known for fishing, but there are lots of spots where you can go cast a line and catch some fish,” said El Paso Texas Fish & Game founder Pete Chavez.

What started off as a simple Facebook group for locals interested in fishing, has turned into one of El Paso’s most well-known fishing organizations.

El Paso Texas Fish & Game brings together men and women, anglers, not only to enjoy fishing in canals, rivers, and lakes around the borderland, but to also give back to the community.

“We are in a desert, but there are a lot of us out here who love fishing and the acknowledgement for what we do makes us love what do even more,” Chavez said.

Local Angler fishing for bass at Ascarate Lake. Photo by Aaron Prieto

The group began as a bunch of guys who wanted to get more people in El Paso to enjoy fishing as a hobby, according to Chavez. They started by teaching people how to fish.

“We help out with all there is to know about fishing. From lines, bait, rods, and fishing locations. The main spot is Ascarate Lake, but there are lots of spots such as Hideaway Lakes in Tornillo, Texas, some popular canals, even places near New Mexico where you can fish,” Chavez explained.

Since the group was founded in 2018, EPT Fish & Game has quickly grown from a handful of anglers to 739 members.

EPT Fish & Game holds events and tournaments at local fishing spots not only for members to enjoy competitive fishing, but to raise money for military veterans in the region.

“We have been recognized by the City of El Paso and Acarate Fishing Club for what we do. The entry fees for our events go to providing military veterans with rods and gear for fishing. That is one project we recently started,” Chavez said.

EPT Fish & Game is aimed at building awareness about the benefits fishing can provide. Membership is free.

Rick Rodriguez and son having no luck catching fish at Ascarate Lake, but enjoying the time together. Photo by Aaron Prieto

“I’ve been fishing for a couple years now and recently started fishing here at Ascarate Lake. I haven’t had that much luck but It is very relaxing,” said Rich Rodriguez, a member of EPT Fish & Game. “It lets me spend time with my family and it’s just nice to go out and enjoy the outdoors,.”

The organization has also helped bring more anglers to lesser known places such as Hideaway Lakes in Tornillo and Licon Dairy in San Elizario. The Licon Dairy farm has turned a small artificial lake into another local fishing spot.

Angler at Hideaway Lakes in Tornillo, Texas casting his line fishing for catfish. Photo by Aaron Prieto

 

It takes some skill, such as learning how to hold a rod or tossing the line, but it is more luck than skill. Sometimes the fish just don’t want to bite,” said El Paso angler Charles Sparks.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department makes it possible for people catch a stringer full of fish in our desert climate. The agency stocks Ascarate Lake monthly with catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill and trout.

Anglers can purchase a Texas or New Mexico license at sporting goods stores or from the state website.

All-water Fishing licenses range from one-day fishing for $11 to yearly licenses priced at $40. Lifetime licenses are available to those who wish to spend a many years to come fishing on the banks of lakes and rivers, including the Rio Grande.

“We hope to keep this organization going, hope to see more people get their fishing license, and hope to keep providing locals with the knowledge and equipment they need to pick up a rod and start fishing,” Chavez said.

 

Click hear to read Borderland fishing club reels more desert dwellers into the sport

Categories: Local Blogs

School boards getting worse, not better

Refuse the Juice - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 8:56am
I remember a time when EPISD folks were back dealing with contractors and got busted. We found out about it and what became public was probably only a very teeny tiny tip of a large iceberg. And by "probably" I... Brad Kanus
Categories: Local Blogs

Distress

ElPasoSpeak - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 5:00am

This picture was sent to us recently.

The homeowner has chosen to fly our flag upside down.

It is not illegal but it sure does cause me to have a visceral reaction.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut